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ABC Australia exec joins Matchbox Pictures as MD

NBCUniversal-owned Safe Harbour producer Matchbox Pictures has appointed ABC Australia exec Alastair McKinnon (pictured, right) as managing director.

The exec was most recently head of content investment and planning at the public broadcaster, where he was responsible for overseeing content production, business and planning activities across all genres and platforms for ABC’s entertainment and specialist division.

He also served as executive producer of dramas such as Glitch and Harrow.

Based in Sydney, McKinnon – who joins in December – will oversee all strategic and operational aspects of the producer and is to help grow its slate of Australian content with global appeal.

His remit will include expanding the company’s global footprint, by fostering creative and commercial opportunities across international markets, working with parent company NBCUniversal International Studios and partners such as founding member Tony Ayres and his new production company TAP.

McKinnon joined ABC in 2015 as deputy head of fiction, before being promoted to acting head of the division just a year later.

Prior to ABC, McKinnon was head of business affairs at SBS Australia. He has also held senior strategic, policy and legal roles at Screen Australia, Ausfilm and the Australian Film Commission.

With offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and Adelaide, Matchbox produces across drama, children’s, factual entertainment, animation and feature films.

Its slate includes supernatural drama Glitch (ABC/Netflix), children’s dramas Nowhere Boys (ABC Me /Netflix) and Mustangs FC (ABC Me /CBBC), and leading adult dramas Seven Types Of Ambiguity (ABC), Secret City (Foxtel), Wanted (Seven Network/Netflix) and Safe Harbour (SBS), which was recently sold to Hulu in the US.

Jeff Wachtel, president of NBCUniversal International Studios, said: “In Alastair, we believe we’ve found a visionary leader to take Matchbox to even greater achievements. Matchbox was founded as a creative enterprise and we will always honor its guiding principles as we work with the entire team to broaden the company’s reach in Australia and beyond.”

McKinnon added: “I am thrilled to join the extraordinary team at Matchbox with its unparalleled track record for creative excellence and innovation in delivering award-winning content. The opportunity to lead this outstanding company through its next phase of growth in the global marketplace is one I simply could not refuse.“